UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

August 30, 2008

Cat Socks on a Cool Beaded Loop

Filed under: knit, project lists — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 3:26 pm

Updates. I finished the first demo sock, Sky Harbor or whatever it is called from Cat Bordhi’s book. I think it is a cute sock, but it is hard to be excited over a kid-sized thing. I want socks for me. I am still making a second one. I am impressed that I finished a sock in 2 knitting sessions. I have cast on for the second sock already.

I chose the next knitting project. Princess Mitts which are for a dear friend who wanted yarn from a particular fiber. And I actually added this to my Ravelry page and linked in the handspun photo.

I got really frustrated that all my stitch markers had wandered off. I have this tendency not to actually frog the to-be-frogged pile and that sucks down stitch markers. All I had left were thick plastic rings and repurposed paperclips. So I sat down and actually made some stitch markers.

I had seen a counting bracelet and really liked the idea but I do not really want it as a bracelet. I think what I really want is a miniature abacus that stands on its own.

August 27, 2008

techniques and understanding

Filed under: instructions, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:52 pm

My two jackets are blocking now.

It inspired me enough that I cast on for the demo sock in Cat Bordhi’s sock book. I really like that book. I admit to thinking that all sock books were the same and no one who wrote one knew anything about the underpinnings. All the sock books the library owns look like they copied from one another. No one explained anything any other way. So if you did not understand gussets and heel flaps, it really did not matter what book you read because they were all saying the same thing. What got me is that the best selling sock book, 2 years after I made my first pair without specialized help, did not have toe-up+short-row as an option. I had knitted a pair of toe-up+short-row socks already and liked that method. I was pretty convinced that there was a problem in the knitting world if I came up with a combination of techniques that was not available in the popular literature. I still think there is a problem in the knitting world—– that wooly animals are not the only sheep in the craft.

The Cat Bordhi book did a fabulous job of explaining things that I had been doing but not understanding, like which stitches were twisted, how to mark a row of knitting with scrap yarn, and went over the increases and decreases in a novel way. I am sure other people understood the increases and decreases from the previous version of the explanation (which was parroted by every knitting book out there) but I never did understand it. I love having the ability to read a different explanation of the same thing.

One thing that the knitting world really needs is a tutorial for tubular cast on in the round.
Get the base stitches on the needle either by backward loop with scrap yarn, then [k, yo]*; or by
Fluffbuff Method. The join occurs with the first stitch of the first round.  Start with one round of [k, slipp with yarn in front)]* (←That is slip-as-if-to-purl.)  Next round, [ slipp wyif, k]*, making sure to pull that first stitch very tight.  This has created one row of tubular k1p1 ribbing. Repeat in pairs of rows if needed. Switch to k1p1 ribbing rounds by actually purling the stitch.

If someone figures out garter stitch grafting, I would love to see that.

August 26, 2008

Done with second jacket.

Filed under: knit — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:55 pm

Pictures of the two jackets.
jackets 1st jacket orange buttons 2nd jacket showing double buttons

In the end, despite several blog postings found saying the seams were grafted and a politely pleading message to Jared Flood/BrooklynTweed, I just sewed the seams. The regular Kitchner instructions are for stockinette, which looks really horrid and takes ages. There is an alternate version for garter stitch, but it is really upside down stockinette where the purl bumps are on the top side. If there is a right and wrong side, that would probably be sufficient. For a reversible garment, it just meant that the lousy side was hidden.

So, endless people have endless variations, including the double buttons I thought I “created”. And you cannot find any of it. Even Microsoft sells a Developers’ Toolkit to allow independent people to create software that runs under Windows. Maybe we should push for the creative arts to have a licensing element for further development. Someone could release a book with all the variants of a particularly long-lived pattern. Instead, I remain angry that anyone would copyright the half-assed pattern that is EZ’s BSJ.

It is not a graft if the underside looks wrong.

Filed under: knit — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 7:52 am

I am done with the knitting portion of the rerun of the baby jacket. The buttons are attached. Yesterday I picked up stitches to graft the shoulder seam (something which is still waiting on the first jacket). After laboriously doing the grafting, which was preceded by the laborious picking up of stitches and counting-counting-counting, I discovered that the standard Kitchner instructions give a stockinette graft. It looks horrible. Now I am going to have to unpick it and come up with another way.

*pauses* I found the instructions online for faking a garter graft, but it is not reversible.

August 19, 2008


Filed under: equipment, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:43 pm

I bought buttons today.

I came up with a “double-button” idea for the reversible jacket. That way buttons can be moved from side to side just by buttoning and unbuttoning. Or if the gender association isn’t important, it can just be inverted and the buttons will still work.

So, the buttons: buttons buttons buttons

You will notice that they are a weird cross between a shank button and a bead. Simply Fabrics was the store. (I also had a nice lunch afterward, Thai. The benefits of going somewhere new.)

I plan to use the blue and orange buttons together on the first jacket.

The second jacket is made from “Evil Stepmother” and I finally got around to taking a picture of the yarn.

August 15, 2008

Wherein I seem to hate everything to do with knitting.

Filed under: knit, yarn — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:59 pm

Let me explain why I am still angry with EZ. Her BSJ “pattern” is merely a guideline with the details left as an exercise for the knitter. And really until you have knit one, it is almost impossible. It took me 5 weeks to do the first one, using a worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles.

I started the second one with KnitPicks “Imagination” yarn (in “evil stepmother” — because that was a good color, if I could have chosen by title, I might have picked “wicked witch” instead) and size 4 Addi Turbo needles— more on those in a minute— last Sunday and I have the thing half done as of today.

The difference? I wrote out the whole be-damned pattern in step by step instructions, no after-the-fact or “meanwhile back at the ranch” business that causes the knitter to need to pull out 12 rows of work. I have a list to check off each row and there have been no mistakes. I do not see how something can be a pattern when the original material is a few hundred words and I have 5 pages.

Even though I am now working with a splity two-ply yarn on blunt-ended needles with lousy joins— I cannot k2tog without a helper needle for example.– the knitting is 250% faster. If I had tried to knit the BSJ for the first time with this yarn and these needles, I would have given up.

I do not have any idea why people think Addi makes a superior product. I have 6 of the Addi circs and only one of them is actually good. Most of them, the yarn catches at the join, the cable gets kinked from its own weight while stored, and overall the quality is mediocre. It makes sense that the Addis cost about twice what craft store needles cost, but just as craft store needles are not worth $10, Addis are not worth the $20 they cost.

As much as I decried the lousy quality control of the Knitpicks Harmony needles, they are actually cheaper than craft store versions. Since the Knitpicks nickel-plated needles are nice and the cheapest thing going, I plan to order replacements for my Addis next time.  The Knitpicks needles are viciously pointy and getting the tip under to M1 or k2tog is as easy as it ever gets. I need a knitting thimble for when I push against the needletip to pop the old stitch off after it has been knit.

The colorway for the “Evil Stepmother” yarn is quite nice with its purple and blue and brown and red. There has been very minimal pooling. I do not like the fiber though, the combination of superwash merino, alpaca, and nylon is not creating a soft fabric, the alpaca is not de-haired, and the plying is extraordinarily loose— when I was long-tail casting-on, it tried to unply. They market this as “sock yarn”. I would say that this would only be suitable sock yarn for someone in a wheelchair, because it never will be durable for a direct-wear application. The hairy alpaca seems likely to be itchy also, so I would not think anyone would want this in a next-to-skin application.

August 9, 2008

EZ is for paying tolls, even in knitting.

Filed under: instructions, knit — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:50 pm

I finished writing and formatting the actual pattern for the BSJ. Not the summary version by Elizabeth Zimmermann where what needs doing is left out because any really good knitter would have thought through all the caveats on their own and anyone else is too [insert scorchingly blue language of your choice here] idiotic to make a garter stitch project. I have stopped wondering how someone who did so many great things for knitting could be so humble! If she had not been, someone else would have throttled her and the books would not be around to aggravate me.

Here is one piece of amazingly helpful advice, put a center marker in. That way any mistakes can be isolated.

Second piece of advice, you can fix whatever error on the “resting row” knitting back. Sure your increase or decrease will be off by one row, but it works fine, and works a lot better than having to rip back.

Third suggestion, count every resting row. Make a list of all the row counts, with separators for where the markers will be and check off the row. That page is a lifesaver if you are doing striped colorwork. I have a .pdf for this page if you want mine, even though it just includes the row counts and no instructions. (Leave a comment, although your email address does not show to the world, I can see it as the blog owner.)

Cat Bordhi’s suggestion about using scrap yarn to blip for row counts is probably wise if you are not doing stripes. I will be reviewing the Cat Bordhi sock book, but my preliminary impression is that she is the opposite, she spent a great deal of time describing caveats and providing work-arounds.

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